The peregrine falcon pair that nested atop the Capitol has abandoned their recently-laid clutch of five eggs. The male, named “19/K” and female, Alley, apparently remain present at the Capitol but have not been seen in their nest box — or more importantly, on their eggs — since the Sunday morning, April 30.
During the intervening period, their eggs remained exposed to the chilly and wet weather. The nest abandonment essentially ends the 2017 nesting cycle.
It is rare for peregrine falcons to abandon their nests, and cause is unknown.
The nest abandonment comes after an unusual nesting season when the eggs were laid in the late spring. In past years, Alley started egg laying in late March or early April, but this year, the first egg did not arrive until April 16.
The two falcons are relatively old; 19/K is 16 and the Alley is 13 years old. The maximum longevity for wild peregrine falcons is typically 15-20 years.
The pair also has been experiencing reduced fertility in recent years, and 19/K spent several months in rehabilitation last summer after injuring a wing before he was released in October.
Alley and 19/K are the only peregrine falcons that have successfully nested at the Capitol. They have fledged 23 offspring since 2005.
Out of the 23 young, six have been seen as adults away from the Capitol.
Their offspring Boreas, hatched in 2007, and Nemaha, hatched in 2009, nested at the Westar Energy building in Topeka, Kan. from 2011-16.
Mintaka, hatched in 2010, has been nesting on Omaha’s Woodmen Tower since 2012. Lewis, hatched in 2012, was seen near Houston, Texas, in the winter of 2014 and this past winter.
Clark, also hatched in 2012, was discovered nesting at Omaha Public Power District’s north Omaha power station in 2015.
Orozco, hatched in 2015, was discovered this spring at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha.